Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saving Money on Animal Feed

The biggest expense in raising livestock is the feed.  This is true whether you are raising chickens, horses, goats, pigs or any other livestock.  We have been looking into options to reduce our feed bill.  And no, feeding the animals less is not an option...haha.  We have been trying to let the chickens out of their yard to free range when we are home (if we aren't home they wander over to the neighbor who doesnt share our love of chickens- so we are trying to be respectful).  They are so much happier when they are hunting for bugs.  We keep the feeders full in the coop so they still have access to their feed but they would much rather play in the hay in the barn or dig for bugs in the yard.

   We also let the goats (girls only, sorry boys) out to eat the brush if we are out in the yard.  The goats are super easy to catch if we need to put them away.  Goat herds always have a self appointed herd queen (the queen can change if they decide to challenge each other).  They will always be near the queen.  Our queen is Chai.  She ousted Latte for the position when we brought her home.  As long as we have Chai, Latte and Mocha will follow.  Chai is super easy to walk and its fun to see Latte and Mocha running to catch up with her.  By allowing them to eat the brush, they eat less hay (don't worry we still give them hay too but just less).  They always get grain at milking.  With milking goats you have to be careful that they get enough since they are putting so much energy into producing milk.  They love going out to explore and eat the brush. 

  The pigs already eat (drink?) the goats milk and sometimes hardboiled eggs.  They can't only have milk, so we started looking into other options.  I contacted a local restaurant to see if they would give me their food scraps.  Actually I contacted a bunch of restaurants and this one agreed, thankfully.  I believe technically restaurants and grocery stores are not supposed to give away their scraps or leftovers due to liability reasons and all that.  So I won't be saying where we are getting the scraps.  This restaurant does a lot of down home cooking.  So the scraps I get are the apple and potato peelings, cabbage, etc.  Not the leftovers from customers plates or anything like that.  I go to pick up the scraps in 5 gallon buckets and return the previous bucket (rinsed out and clean).  Today I got a call that they had 2 buckets!  That's 10 gallons of food I get for the pigs for free.  And 10 gallons of waste that is kept out of the landfills.  A win all around!  Family Z has also started saving their scraps for me too.  5 gallons will last the pigs a couple days.  Combined with the goats milk they are going to be some happy hogs!

  If you have animals, do you try to cut feed costs?  If so, what do you do? 


  1. Try to find an apple tree nobody loves anymore...look along the roadsides.... the piggies will love the apples. You might also be able to glean corn from a field though around here it is likely to be GMO. :(

    Maybe you know a local farmer who will let you glean?


    1. I have been looking for different feeds for my animals for a while now. This is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could find some where I live. I know there is a big orchard on the other side of town from me.